EXHIBITS: Virtual Vikings

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Science  10 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5494, pp. 1047
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5494.1047b

The Smithsonian Institution's much touted Viking exhibit, currently at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, now has an expanded presence online. The new Viking Voyage site packs archaeology, sagas, and environmental and genetics research into a multimedia extravaganza. You can see an animation showing how a Viking ship is put together, twist and turn a 3D runestone, and listen to Viking tales told in an imitation-Old Norse accent. The site escorts you from the Vikings' homelands in Scandinavia through Britain, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, and finally to bounteous Vinland, now Newfoundland, which at the time enjoyed warmer temperatures and even had grapes. The exhibit makes clear that Vikings, contrary to stereotypes, led well-rounded lives devoted mainly to farming. A final segment brings the shocker: Not a single horned helmet has ever been associated with a Viking.


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